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Monday, August 21, 2006


Posted by on August 21 at 16:22 PM

I’ve been all restless and art-hungry for the last week or so (must have been those Sleater-Kinney shows—I had a bizarre dream last night that Carrie Brownstein was running for Washington state representative, so I’m clearly not so over that). Various remedies, including:

Diary of a Country Priest, by Robert Bresson, which made me cry a little, being very susceptible to Catholic crises of faith


… and a short story by Kevin A. González, about a guy who calls himself Antonio, which had some good parts about raising a sunken pleasure boat

… and my aforementioned new favorite photo blog, which sure does have a lot of pictures of girls in bikinis


… were not satiating me. But then I went to Seattle Asian Art Museum, which is still exhibiting Shirin Neshat’s Tooba (previously suggested and slogged by Jen Graves). And it was so good.


Tooba is composed of two films (shot on 35 mm, but of course exhibited on a looped DVD), projected on opposite walls. On one wall, a council of black-robed men sit in a circle, chanting and swaying. The camera periodically pans across their faces until they blur (my favorite mode of inducing horror of anonymous aggression—there’s a similar shot in Fight Club I particularly admire). On the opposite screen, a woman presses herself into a lonely tree (the “tooba” of the title, a reference to the tree that grows in paradise) in a courtyard, surrounded by brick walls. A crowd of men and a few women start on the council half of the film and migrate to the woman side, surround the wall, and climb toward her. But she has disappeared; a little snaky bit of trunk the only sign of the place her feet used to be.

Tooba is my favorite film of Neshat’s because it’s so much more open and theatrical—fairytale-like, even—than the other work I’ve seen. There’s all the obvious gender stuff, but more than that… The tree is a sanctuary, but what is more horrible than the idea of being swallowed up by bark? What do you sacrifice for safety? Tooba is up at the beautiful Seattle Asian Art Museum through October 15. It costs a mere $5 (and you can probably get away with paying less, though I didn’t try). Go, go, go, go.


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saw it somewhere ahwile back (Vancouver? LA?) just remember it being wierd with great locations... but, yea- wierd... good?... hmmm...

Thanks for the link to Our Fair Magazine -- the González piece. It is, in fact, a pretty great story.

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